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Meeting Larry Hama (and many other amazing talents)

It’s always a pleasure when you meet someone your a fan of, or admire, and they turn out to be a geniuinely great person. Many creative people that are successful can be arrogant and treat you like a bother when you take the time to meet them.

I won’t mention the individuals who have been less than receptive over the years, but I can mention those I admire who have been quite accommodating and inspiring.

Clive Barker was extremely nice. He took a lot of time to answer all my questions and seemed more than pleased that I was a fan. He also signed a ton of material I had with me, as well as promotional material he had with him. He was very down to earth.

Neil Gaiman was an intriguing guy. I had to get a ticket, wait in line and ride some elevator to some secret room to meet him if I remember correctly. We talked a bit about his creation Sandman and he drew a little picture on the cover and signed my copy of Sandman #1. He also took a lot of time to chat and didn’t make me feel rushed at all. Cool guy.

Ron Garney is a very talented comic book artist. When I met him my kids were both under 2 years old. I was waiting on line for about 30 minutes in my comic store at the time, “A Timeless Journey”, when my kids had a meltdown. My informed me in no uncertain terms that it was time to leave. Ron saw I had to split and offered to draw me something and leave it with the store’s owner. When I came back in a few days I was more than surprised to see the detailed drawing of Spider-Man he left for me. He even inked it! He made me a fan for life.

At a comic convention I was waiting to meet one of my favorite all-time artists John Romita, Jr. Long story short there was a mix-up and I waited on the wrong line for a while along wit a bunch of other fans. When he found out he was very apologetic (even though it was not his fault) and banged out a quick Spider-Man sketch for me that now hangs in my office.

Another author I happen to know if Jeffrey Ford. The man is genuinely friendly and has been more than helpful to me for years when I took his Creative Writing class. He has gone out of his way on numerous occassions to mentor me and help me out. He’s one of m all-time favorites. Talented author who’s an even better person.

Lastly, as seen in the picture above, is Larry Hama. He is way more talented than most people realize and if you took a look at his career I think you would be amazed. What I remember him most for was his his tremendous run on G.I. Joe. His run was nothing short of epic and what he did with Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow was amazing. The mystery and suspense that he architected around those 2 characters was nothing short of awesome. The issue you see in the pic I gave to my son, but I had him sign copy of “Silent Interlude”, which was the issue of G.I. Joe with no words (a very cool issue), for me. He also signed a copy of Wolverine for me, for which I even have a greater fondness for. I grew up on his run of my favorite mutant and that’s what we talked about. He told me that the idea to give Logan bone claws when his adamantium was sucked from his body was not something he wanted to do and it turned out to be somewhat of a Marvel controversy. The X-Men summit was split 50/50 on whether to give him bone claws, but after 3 days of arguing he finally agreed. I told him for what it’s worth, he pulled it off quite well and I loved it.

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Top 10 Novel to Movie Adaptations

Being the holidays and having just suffered a computer crash I have taken the easy way out and ripped another top 10 list from LitReactor available at the following link:

http://litreactor.com/columns/the-top-10-book-to-film-adaptations-that-were-actually-good

1. Jurassic Park
By Michael Crichton/Adaptation by Steven Spielberg

2. Fight Club
By Chuck Palahniuk/Adaptation by David Fincher

3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
By Ken Kesey/Adaptation by Milos Forman

4. Trainspotting
By Irvine Welsh/Adaptation by Danny Boyle

5. American Psycho
by Bret Easton Ellis/Adaptation by Mary Harron

6. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight
Created by Bob Kane, written by others/Adaptation by Christopher Nolan

7. The Shining
by Stephen King/Adaptation by Stanley Kubrick

8. Bringing out the Dead
by Joe Connelly/Adaptation by Martin Scorsese

9. Memento Mori
By Jonathan Nolan/Adaptation by Christopher Nolan (as Memento)

10. The Godfather
By Mario Puzo/Adaptation by Francis Ford Coppola

My personal favorites are:

FIGHT CLUB – Both the book and movie are fantastic and the movie makes changes in all the right places that work. Great soundtrack, great everything.

THE GODFATHER – The movie was better than the book in my opinion and the book was awesome.

THE SHINING – I can’t beleive King doesn’t like this movie.

BATMAN – As long as the movie was by Nolan it’s good. He captured the struggle between the Dark Knight and the Joker beautifully.

One movie that didn’t make the list was CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Another movie that made a few changes that worked well on film, like leaving out the last chapter.

One of my favorite books that I’d love to see as a movie is THE PHYSIOGNOMY by Jeffrey Ford. If you haven’t read it, please do so. It’s time to make this gem into a film.

Horror Writer, Matt Piskun….I like the sound of that.

I was just featured in the Writing Room as a Brookdale fiction writing grad. The post was made by Jeffrey Ford and award wining author.

Jeff is a great guy, an excellent mentor and an even better author. Do yourself a favor and check out some of his stuff. My 3 favorite works by him, to date, are:

1) The Physiognomy
2) The Girl in the Glass
3) The Shadow Year

You can check out my link here:

Lullaby

I now have three favorite books.

‘The Great and Secret Show” by Clive Barker is my personal benchmark for horror and horror mythology.

“The Physiognomy” by Jeffrey Ford is, for me, the perfect blend of weirdness and dark fantasy.  This book changed the way I think about writing.

“Lullaby” by Chuck Palahniuk was also brilliant.  The themes of life, death, construction and deconstruction (among others) was threaded perfectly throughout the story.  One thing I LOVED is that Palahniuk is twisted but not in a gratuitous manner whatsoever.   Are all Palahniuk’s books this great?  I can’t wait to find out.   Oh, and if you know the proper way to pronounce his last name let me know.

Dangerous Laughter

Jeffrey Ford lent me “Dangerous Laughter” by Steven Millhauser to expand my horizons and hopefully improve my writing. Millhauser does write wonderfully but o far most of the stories in this book are not my cup of tea.

Cat n’ Mouse

At first I was like ‘what the hell?’ It seemed like a Tom and Jerry rehash at first but it came together quite nicely. I actually liked this one. Never thought a deeper meaning could be applied to a cartoon.

The Disappearance of Elaine Coleman
Didn’t care too much for this one. It ended with a fizzle for me.

The Room in the Attic
Loved this one. Very nice build up and well crafted characters. I thought the ending was great.

Dangerous Laughter
This was a cool idea that actually lit a spark in me which led to my writing a story of my own. However, I didn’t care to much for the execution of this story and there was a lot of repetition of the laughing which grew old quick for me.

The Dome
The story had some nice metaphor but the main idea led nowhere for me. I got it but didn’t care too much.

I know, I know these reviews are vague with close to zero detail but I do not want to ruin the stories for anyone who may want to read them. I have a few more to go so my overall opinion of the book may change.

I can see why this book was recommended to me. It is thought provoking and extremely well written but it’s just not for me so far in regards to action and pacing.

Have you read Millhauser? What do you think?

Fiction Writing Workshop

Another semester of Fiction Writing Workshop in the books. I have taken Jeff Ford’s workshop at Brookdale Community College for a couple of years. I won’t say how many!

I think I put some pieces together this year. My writing has improved from last year and so has my storytelling. I have a few pieces that should get published but who knows. It takes so damn long. Hopefully 2010 will be my year. The Badgerine will be the first to know.

Mirror Mirror

I was checking out Jeffrey Ford’s blog and he wrote a bit about Joshua Hoffine.

Hoffine’s work is amazing and scary. He is a horror photographer and his pictures are great and his blog is interesting. He also goes through many of his pictures and the painstaking detail he put into each one.

There was one photo of a werewolf chasing a girl down a flight of stairs that was great but I couldn’t get it to copy

check Jeff out here:
http://14theditch.livejournal.com/

and check Joshua Hoffine out at:

http://joshuahoffine.wordpress.com/

Drowned Life Reading

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I’m going to see Jeffrey Ford do a reading, from his short story collection The Drowned Life, this Friday at the Moonstone Art Center in Philly. I have never been to a reading before and I’m excited. I can’t think of a better person to go and listen to.

If you haven’t read Jeffrey Ford you should, ’nuff sad. He is one of the best. If your looking to dip your toe into Ford’s goodness (gak) I suggest starting with:

The Physiognomy:After reading this I had two favorite books, this first book in the well-built-city trilogy and The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker. Trust me, read The Physiognomy and the other two books will be a must read. They’re all great and I particularly loved the last book The Beyond. How these books aren’t movies yet I’ll never know.

The Girl in the Glass. This book is just a pleasure to read. I was actually disappointed to have it come to an end. I haven’t read all of Ford’s work yet ( I will) but to me this was the most beautifully written so far.

What I’m Reading Now

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There are a ton of stories in this collection of zombie stories.  I’m not much of a critic and I respect anyone who’s gotten published.  Anyway, here is what I think about what I’ve read so far:

Malthusian’s Zombie by Jeffrey Ford.  Great story and quite different from the other stories I’ve read so far in this book.  As always Jeff writes beautifully.

This Years Class Picture by Dan Simmons.  My favorite story in the book so far.  I’m just discovering Simmons and I look forward to reading more of his work.  I hear “Drood” is awesome.

Sex, Death an Starshine by Clive Barker.  Clive is my favorite.  If it wasn’t for him I may not be a reader or the wanna-be writer I am today.  This story is old school Barker.

Death and Suffrage by Dale Bailey.  Well written but kind off dragged for me.

Bitter Grounds by Neil Gaiman.  Beautifully written but I didn’t get it.  I need to read this one again.  I love Gaiman.  If I ever meet him again I’ll be sure to ask him what he was thinking about when he wrote it.

Some Zombie Contingency Plans by Kelly Link.  Entertaining but I have no idea what the point was.

Those Who Seek Forgiveness by Laurell K. Hamilton.  I don’t have much to say about this one.  It was pretty good.

Ghost Dance by Sherman Alexie.  I like the way Alexie writes and enjoyed this story.